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H.264 gamma shift/washed out colours on export

Sep 10, 2012 1:12 PM

Tags: #export #h264 #washed_out #desaturated #gamma_shift

I know this has been discussed before but I've been researching this topic for the past two hours and still can't find a solution.


I have .mov source files from a Canon 7D. Exporting them from PP CS5.5 (Mac OS X - Lion, 10.7.4) in h.264 or by 'matching sequence settings' results in a gamma shift/desaturated colours. Playing the resulting h.264 file in QuickTime Player, VLC, Elmedia all result in the same colour shift so this is not an issue with QT simply interpreting the gamma incorrectly.


Uploading to Vimeo and Youtube results in the same gamma shift. The monitor I'm using is not calibrated but when puling up a VLC window of the exported file next to the Program Monitor (on the same monitor) shows that there is a definite difference. Below is a screenshot.


Is there any way to produce an exported file for Vimeo use that reproduces the gamma as I see it in the Program Monitor?

Any help would be massively appreciated.


Thanks.Gamma shift.png

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 10, 2012 1:34 PM   in reply to sandeepthefifth1

    Before I went about adjusting things, I would try in another player, besides QT. It is known to have Gamma issues, and also color issues, though I know of those mainly from QT on the PC, but perhaps it's the same, or similar on the Mac?


    Good luck,



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    Sep 10, 2012 2:21 PM   in reply to sandeepthefifth1

    OK, and thanks for that clarification. I did not want you joisting with windmills, when it was but a player issue.


    Now, I have not encountered what you showed, and am also a PC-only guy, so not sure how much help I can be. However, there are some great folk here, and they will be by soon, with some useful ideas.


    Good luck,



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    Sep 10, 2012 8:19 PM   in reply to sandeepthefifth1

    Did you use Quicktime's H.264 export option? Or just standard h.264 using the .mp4 container? If you used the Quicktime h.264 the option itself is flawed. Here are some links regarding the issue.









    If you read around the net a lot of people have had this issue with h264. A couple of the articles I posted are supposed to "fix" the problem although I haven't ever tried any of them myself. I've never experinced a gamma shift when using the standard h.264 format option in Premiere, however if you have already used that option and you're still having issues then I have no clue what is going on. However when I import ProRes files into Premiere they don't appear washed out, but when I play them in Quicktime or VLC they do appear washed out. I've always just assumed Premiere was somehow correcting it, because when I export my video to mpeg-2 for playback on our server it looks like it looked in Premiere.


    From what I have read though the reason the Quicktime format does this when using the h.264 codec looks and looks washed  out is because of a incorrect gamma tag. But Premiere isn't affected/fooled by this like most media players are. According from how they made it sound on provideo and the one other site I read it on anyways.

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    Sep 11, 2012 5:06 AM   in reply to sandeepthefifth1

    Since you're having issues with mpeg-2 I know something wierd is for sure going now. Do you have a NVIDIA graphics card? Sometimes when people have NVIDIA GPU's and they have their color range set to limited 16-235 it causes stuff in their media players to look washed out. I'm not sure how to weak this on a mac though but you need to make sure your colors aren't set to 16-235 because that's what I'm starting to suspect, because I haven't ever had issues with mpeg-2 appearing "washed out". Unless their is some wierd bug going on here.


    Also often times with mac's you need to check the following settings

    Check this too... Scroll to the bottom of the post there is also one towards the middle that might help.



    There are a couples settings mac's have that make things look washed out. Also could you upload a small test file that I could check on my system? The reason I don't think it would be good to make the color darker is because I'm thinking this is probably a GPU/OS on your specific machine possibly causing the issue. Video used to be washed out on my PC too but once I found the 16-235 and changed it then all my media players looked correct. Before they looked terrible though and Premiere looked okay.


    Hopefully this doesn't turn out to be a bug but I don't think it is, because I use mpeg-2 several times a day when I export for  broadcast and I haven't ever had it wash my video out in any media player at all unless my GPU settings weren't correct.

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    Sep 11, 2012 5:29 AM   in reply to sandeepthefifth1

    On my computer VLC matches Premiere perfectly, I'd recommend trying some of the tweaks I mentioned.



    Then on my computer KMplayer actually appears darker than Premiere.


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    Jan 30, 2014 9:43 AM   in reply to sandeepthefifth1

    The fix may be within your Nvidia Control Panel settings.  I was having this issue when exporting from Premiere CS6 and uploading to Vimeo (the video once posted to Vimeo was washed out and/or hazy).


    From this link: c.html


    The fix I found was to use the NVIDIA control panel to control your video playback instead of the video player’s settings. 

    1. Open your NVIDIA Control Panel (type NVIDIA in your start menu search field and select NVIDIA Control Panel).
    2. Go down to Video and select “Adjust video color settings.”
    3. Under #2 (How do you make color adjustments), select “With the NVIDIA settings.”
    4. Under the Advanced tab change the Dynamic Range with the drop down to “Full (0-255)” (not “Limited (16-235)”).
    5. For my display to look as it should, I had to uncheck “Dynamic contrast enhancement.”

    My video now appears as it should (not washed out).

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